The magic of film and television—backed by armies of makeup artists, special effects gurus, and publicity flaks—sometimes makes questions of faith, marriage, and personal achievement seem simple. When every problem is reduced to a plot arc that’s resolved in under two hours, how hard can your problems be? Of course, that’s deception—even Hollywood Power Couples […]
President/CEO of Franklin Entertainment and former Sony Pictures executive DeVon Franklin and award-winning actress Meagan Good have learned firsthand that some people must wait patiently for “the one” to come into their lives. They spent years crossing paths but it wasn’t until they were thrown together while working on the film Jumping the Broom that their storybook romance began.
Faced with starting a new relationship and wanting to avoid potentially devastating pitfalls, DeVon and Meagan chose to do something almost unheard of in today’s society—abstain from sex until they were married.
DeVon and Meagan share the life-changing message that waiting—rather than rushing a relationship—can help you find the person you’re meant to be with. The Wait is filled with candid his-and-hers accounts of the most important moments of their relationship and practical advice on how waiting for everything—from dating to sex—can transform relationships, allowing you to find a deep connection based on patience, trust, and faith.
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About the Author
Meagan Good is an award-winning actress, bestselling author, and producer. She’s headlined some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters including Think Like A Man, Think Like a Man Too, Anchorman: The Legend Continues, Stomp The Yard and the critically acclaimed Eve’s Bayou. She also starred in Deception for NBC and Minority Report for Fox. She is the New York Times bestselling author of The Wait. She’s also cofounder of The Greater Good Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates for the empowerment and enrichment of young women.
Read an Excerpt
The Wait —— CHAPTER ONE ——
Patience is not the ability to Wait,
but the ability to keep a good attitude while Waiting.
Just what is The Wait, exactly? The Wait is a conscious choice to pursue delayed gratification in the areas of life specifically related to relationships. It’s a decision to get your mind right, figure out who you want to be and what you want out of life, and use your time and energy to become the best version of yourself. Put simply:
To Wait is to delay the temptation for instant gratification in relationships in order to get what you really want in life and become the person you truly want to be.
That starts with saying no to sex. The Wait isn’t 100 percent about sex, but that’s where it begins. Sex is probably the most compelling aspect of human gratification. It’s such a powerful desire that outside of a proper healthy context it can cloud our judgment and cause us to make decisions that work against our own best self-interest. The untamed, untempered drive for sexual gratification has toppled empires, scuttled political careers, destroyed marriages, and squandered fortunes. Sex can be like a McLaren F1 race car: great in the right hands, but potentially disastrous when handled recklessly.
We’re willing to bet that you’ve experienced more of the latter. We know because we’ve done it. We’ve all made terrible decisions about who to flirt with, spend time with, commit to, and even sleep with that had nothing to do with our brains but everything to do with our bodies. Sex can become a gateway drug to all kinds of other choices intended to satisfy the need for quick pleasure: going out with that gorgeous girl even though you know she’s a hot mess, spending the weekend at that dude’s place even though you know you’re not the only one, or having just one more drink even though you know it will impair your judgment.
When we chase the high of instant gratification, we make choices that for many reasons are irresponsible and based on poor reasoning . . . or no reasoning at all. It takes time and self-control to take in information, let people reveal their true character, be consistent and disciplined, and give conflicts time to work themselves out. Delaying gratification means working at becoming more self-aware and humble enough to admit that our first impulses aren’t always smart ones.
Let’s be really, really clear on this:
One of the keys to practicing The Wait is giving up sex.
We know that for many Christians and non-Christians alike, the idea of giving up sex is too outrageous and impossible to consider. We get that. Yet based on our experience, we still believe that practicing The Wait until marriage will set you up for success and align you with God’s perfect will for your life in all areas.
At its heart The Wait is a book about relationships, but there’s no unwinding the connection between relationships and sexuality. Love and sex are the two sides of the same coin. When you have sex with someone outside of marriage, you’re not just setting off a chain of chemical reactions in your brain that make you think they’re a lot better for you than they probably are; you’re giving them a part of your spirit.
When you have sex with someone, you really are leaving them a piece of yourself and taking a part of them with you . . . whether you want to or not. So each sex partner, good and bad, becomes a part of your future. Does this make you think twice about who you choose—and have chosen—to get into bed with?
Sex is an act of trust. It’s about way more than physical attraction—yet when you think of it only as physical attraction you will see (or have already seen) that attraction lies and spellbinds. Strong relationships aren’t built solely on physical or sexual attraction. They’re built on good judgment. How many times have you become caught up with someone based mostly on sexual attraction? How have those relationships ended?
We don’t have to ask if they’ve ended, because they don’t last. They can’t. Before too long, the hormonal haze clears and all that matters is character, integrity, intelligence, values, spirituality, and self-esteem. A person who doesn’t have enough of those to suit you is a person you can’t tolerate for long.
Delaying gratification and getting greater control over your behavior—so that you can break the patterns that keep sabotaging you—is the key to finally finding the life and the peace that you hunger for. It’s the key to becoming who you’ve always aspired to be, an idea we’ll unpack in chapter two. But it all starts with giving up sex.
Sex, of course, is a topic overflowing with religious, cultural, political, and personal baggage. Much of our popular culture is built around sexual titillation. In our business, the making of movies and television, actors are often cast as much for their good looks as for their acting talents. You don’t really think that all private detectives look like Denzel Washington, do you?
As a people, we’re alternately conflicted, fascinated, and appalled by sex in all its forms. Lawmakers crusade against pornography while their constituents consume it in record amounts. Abstinence-only sex-education programs deny teens basic information on the assumption that it will make them promiscuous, while the data show that teens are less sexually active than they’ve been in decades. The most popular magazines seem to be about nothing but sex: how to get it, how to give it, where to have it, how to be better at it, how to know if your partner is having it with someone else, and so on. We’re obsessed with sex, and at the same time we disapprove of our obsession. It’s no wonder that sex ties us in knots.
An old saying goes, “Success makes us forgetful and stupid.” Sex does the same thing. It makes us forget who we are and what we want. It makes us do things that we look at later and say, “What was I thinking?”
After we got married in 2012, we were asked to appear at numerous conferences and gatherings all around the country to share the story of our relationship and how God brought us together. Though we talked about personal growth and getting closer to God, the stories about us—online and off-line—mostly focused on one thing: waiting to have sex. No matter how deep our faith and how intense our devotion and duty to God, we’re still human, and human beings tend to be like twelve-year-olds when it comes to the topic of sex. (LOL).
Sex is pleasurable. Sex between two people who love each other body and soul is transcendent. But more often than not, that’s not the kind of sex most people are having. A good friend of ours once said to us, “I’m not getting married until I have what you guys have.” That’s flattering and humbling, but it’s also a reflection on how hard it is to find compatibility.
The two of us are not anti-sex. To be anti-sex would pretty much be the same as being anti-God. God created sex and we fully advocate the joy of experiencing it the way He intended. What we do know is that we’ve seen and known a lot of people whose higher aspirations for love, family, and success have landed on the rocks because they put the pursuit of sex before anything else.
The question, “to have sex or not to have sex?” is at the heart of The Wait. That’s not because the most popular question when we spoke at Morehouse College or at T. D. Jakes’s MegaFest or on Jimmy Kimmel Live! was “How did you manage not to have sex?” It’s because we saw the incredible and undeniable grace that came to our relationship when we decided to remain committed to celibacy before marriage.
We both discovered independently that to be the people we truly wanted to be, we needed to take sex out of the equation.
DEVON: I had made a commitment of celibacy long before I met Meagan. When we got married, I had been celibate for over ten years. What motivated the commitment was the same thing that made me keep it. I was preaching about living a life that put the Lord first, and then I was going out and living a life that was the opposite of the discipline I was teaching. Trying to be two people started tearing me apart. The desire for peace and harmony within myself was a motivator to choose no sex.
I asked myself, “What if what I was doing with this other woman disqualified me for the full manifestation of the call that God has on my life? Would it be worth it?” Of course not! No sex is worth that! I could not reconcile the idea that at the end of my life God might say, “Here’s what I had planned for you, but because you showed yourself unworthy, I couldn’t do all I wanted to do in your life.” I was not prepared to take that risk. Whatever my purpose is in this life, I didn’t want anything to get in the way of that.
MEAGAN: I got saved when I was twelve and lost my virginity when I was nineteen. As a Christian, I felt a strong conviction about not having sex, but like most of us, I made excuses and swept those convictions under the rug. And in some relationships I tried hard to abstain; in others I just guiltily went with the flow because I had failed miserably, so what was the point. On some occasions I opted to not even acknowledge my reservations at all because the guilt was exhausting. I repeated the same painful patterns in my relationships over and over, but I didn’t connect that to sex for a long time.
Finally, I knew I had to make a commitment to take sex off the table. I knew I couldn’t do the same thing and expect a different result. I knew I was giving most of me but not all of me at this point. I already knew DeVon but didn’t know he was my husband. By the time I began to entertain the thought of celibacy, my life was an emotional mess. Going celibate helped me clean it up in all areas (even areas where sex played no part). If I hadn’t done that, I doubt we would have come together as husband and wife.
Later, when we got together and got the memo—the revelation that our relationship was going to happen and in fact was meant to be—we didn’t want to do anything to sabotage it. Since we had both been celibate at this point, we agreed that we would remain celibate until after we married . . . if we married. So we took a calculated risk: we would forego physical pleasure so that we could really get to know each other’s minds, hearts, and spirits and confirm that God was truly bringing us together.
Considering the potential payoff, it wasn’t much of a risk. Sure, we were passing up sexual gratification. But by achieving real clarity we avoided making a life-altering mistake either way. Of course, things did work out. We fell in love with each other as whole people, and the promised payoff has been a life filled with not just joy but the peace that comes with knowing we’re firmly in the center of God’s purpose.
Now, we won’t lie to you. It wasn’t always easy. There were nights when things would get hot and heavy and Meagan would stop us and say, “I can’t get down like this. I’m used to going all the way. So we need to cool off.” And we would stop right there, say our good nights, and part for the evening. That happened plenty of times.
But when it dawned on us just how important celibacy was for our union, we both said, “Lord, delaying gratification is powerful!”
How powerful? We saw the many ways that God blessed us and continues to bless us with a relationship built on mutual respect and deep understanding of who we are. We didn’t let sex distort our perceptions, cloud our judgment, or make us rationalize something we didn’t like. We fell in love as centered, intelligent people and children of God long before we fell in love with each other’s physicality or sensuality.
Despite all this, The Wait is anything but passive. You’re not sitting on your hands and hoping that things will turn out all right. You’re making deliberate, positive choices that change who you are and how your mind works. You’re also taking the resources you’ve been spending to chase after sexual gratification and using them instead to improve yourself in body, mind, and spirit.
We call this “strategic patience.” While you wait, you’re not putting your life on hold or wasting time waiting for something to happen. Instead, you’re taking all the time and attention that you’ve been projecting outward and turning it inward. That’s one of the most positive, life-affirming choices a person can make. From this perspective, you can finally see that hurling yourself into the path of potentially romantic relationships hasn’t brought you any closer to what you want. It’s time to try a different approach: letting love and purpose manifest in your life as a result of you working on becoming the best version of yourself.
Practicing strategic patience means understanding the difference between the two types of waiting:
1. Waiting that you choose.
2. Waiting that you have no choice about.
There’s a big difference between something you choose and something that’s forced upon you. With the first, you’re in control; with the second, you resent control being taken from you. The Wait is about changing your circumstance from the second type of waiting into the first. Instead of feeling resentful and angry when the pursuit of your desires hits a wall, think, “Okay, since I’m already waiting, I’m going to choose to use this time productively.” Your circumstances haven’t changed, but how you see them certainly has. Just like that you transform yourself from passive victim into active collaborator with God.
Other things The Wait is not:
• A punishment. God isn’t making you spend time alone as payback for some previous sin.
• Forever. We understand that not having sex is hard and could make a month feel like a year. But tell us this: What’s the longest time in recent years that you’ve gone without sex against your will—Days? Weeks? Months? Years? Could you do that again, this time because you choose to?
• Putting your life on hold. Hardly. Now you have time and bandwidth to work on you. There are definitely times when fast, aggressive action is required to get what you want. You can still practice The Wait while you’re actively going after all God has for you in life.
• Weird. We want to take the stigma away from waiting. What’s bizarre about valuing yourself, your body, and your God over all else? Especially if you’ve already been through the pain of multiple bad breakups, there’s nothing weird about waiting, no matter what anyone else says.
Most important, The Wait isn’t powerless. Though you might not see it, God has His hand on your life during this time, rearranging the scenery in order to set you up for good things to come.
If only those facts were enough to convince people about the power of celibacy, but they’re not. When we talk about The Wait and suggest that people consider going without sex, we get stares of horror. Many people can’t even fathom going without sex for three months, much less years. On the male side, a lot of men have bought into the false idea that says that being a man means chasing lots of women. In that scenario, a man’s worth has nothing to do with his character, morals, or integrity. It becomes reduced to how many women he sleeps with.
As for women, our culture tells them that their sexuality is one of the most important things they have to offer and then shames them for displaying it. It’s really not surprising that sex provokes insecurity and internal conflicts. The unchecked premarital pursuit of sex can debase and objectify us, drive us further away from God’s plan for our life, and expose us to incurable STDs, unplanned pregnancies, and tons of emotional trauma. So why is it that more of us don’t just stop?
Well, we like sex. We crave it. Our bodies are designed to want sex in the way an addict wants drugs. Faced with celibacy, we rationalize. We say, “I don’t know how to be celibate.” Or, “We weren’t meant to abstain.” The problem is that what we should do is not what we want to do. It’s a perfect example of instant gratification at war with delayed gratification.
Are you staying in a relationship for the sex and telling yourself that the other person will change one of these days? Well, has he or she changed yet? Maybe you’ve wrecked relationships and friendships by sleeping with multiple partners, even after swearing that you wouldn’t. Maybe you’re tired of the empty feeling you get when you wake up next to someone you slept with because you were lonely or had too much to drink. Perhaps it feels like you’re on a treadmill of discouraging, drama-filled relationships based on physical attraction and not much else.
Any of that sound familiar? Then, we think that you know exactly what to do. You may even be getting some pretty clear signals from God about trying celibacy, but you don’t want to go there. You don’t want the questions, the pressure from friends, and the rejection of potential partners uninterested in waiting for sex. You think you’ll be shunned or treated like some sort of freak. But there’s probably a lot you don’t know about celibacy:
More people are practicing it than you might think. According to studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, about 3 percent of Americans currently remain celibate until their honeymoons. That might not seem like a lot, but that means that about 5 million couples married today fell in love, vowed to wait, and kept that commitment intact until after they were joined in holy matrimony. So it can be done.
Celibacy is about the mind as much as it is about the body. When we think about celibacy, we focus on the physical need to have sex. But being celibate isn’t just about pushing down that hormonal need to engage in intercourse. It’s about owning how you feel, even when those horny feelings are coming on. It’s choosing to discipline the mind and think of the benefit you seek, something that is greater than the desire to give in.
You might have heard people say something like this when talking about weight loss: “You have to think like a healthy person.” It means that losing weight isn’t entirely about changing what you eat, but about understanding why you eat the way you do. If you overeat out of anxiety or loneliness and you can address those problems, you will change how you think about food and eat differently. Celibacy is the same. If you look at the reasons sex is important to you, you’ll probably find that they are less important than having what you want in life and getting closer to God. That will change how you think about sex and make it easier to resist your physical urges.
The urges will still be there, make no mistake. They were there for us while we dated. We were tempted all the time. But our purpose was more important. Many of us don’t even consider that the sexual aspect of a relationship could be optional. It doesn’t occur to us. But what if it did? What if we made the conscious choice to make clarity and communication and closeness more important than sexual gratification?
That’s what the two of us mean by celibacy being about the mind. Once you reframe sex as a choice, you can reframe celibacy as a commitment that will help you get the things you want. Your sexual urges lose their power over you. You gain power over them.
DEVON: When I made the commitment to celibacy, I got a lot of disbelieving comments from friends. You should have seen the open mouths when I told people that I had remained celibate for more than ten years before marrying Meagan! But my friends’ shock passed, and some of them said that they admired what I was doing. They knew I loved the Lord and that I was making this commitment out of a desire to be closer to him. In the end, some of them even said I inspired them to try it themselves.
As a man, if you can be disciplined in your sexual life, there’s nothing you can’t do. The discipline that you create in that area of your life will be the same for the rest of your life. The Bible says, “Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you” (Matthew 6:4, NLT).
Celibacy isn’t about shame or moral judgment. We’ll say it again: we are not anti-sex. But some people are. They fear sex because it’s a powerful motivator of behavior, and they judge those who have sex out of wedlock as morally inferior. Do not listen to those people when you’re deciding whether or not to be celibate. Shame and the fear of being judged are the wrong reasons to practice The Wait. If you let yourself be shamed into it, you won’t stick with it.
Sex isn’t sinful. Sometimes people of faith have strange, outdated ideas about what sex is. Once again: sex itself is not sinful. Sex isn’t wrong. God created the sexual act and the physical and emotional drives that make us want to have sex. Sex is an act of creation, even if it doesn’t result in a child. It creates joy and intimacy between two people. God-ordained sex between two people who are committed to each other in marriage, who know each other fully and are giving of themselves to each other, body and spirit—that is sanctified.
SIGNS FROM GOD
God won’t leave you guessing. He will send you signs that it’s time to slow down, quiet your mind, and work on yourself while He labors on your behalf. But it’s up to you to read the signs that it’s time to wait. They include:
• A breakup
• Physical or mental or emotional exhaustion
• Negative or hurtful people leaving your life
• The feeling of being lost or purposeless
• An opportunity to go on a long trip or retreat
• The awareness that you’ve been repeating the same relationship mistakes for years
• Persistent frustration and lack of peace
Not all of God’s signs are enjoyable. Some are unpleasant or painful. But if that’s what it takes to get your attention, it’s worth it. Pay attention to the events and patterns in your life. Is God telling you to wait? If you haven’t been listening, now is a good time to start. If not, you might squander time that you’ll never get back.
We faced a really tough question in writing this book:
Is The Wait only about waiting until marriage?
Yes. We do believe that most people’s lives and relationships would be stronger and more joyful if they waited until marriage. On the other hand, many of the people reading this book, no matter how strong their faith, will probably have sex or continue to before marriage. To ignore that would not only be dismissive but could be viewed as borderline delusional. Just like you, we live in the real world where we try every day to live as spiritual beings dealing with the challenges of our flesh, so we do understand.
However, even with that understanding, we are confident that saving sex until after marriage will yield the best results, both for you as an individual and for you and your partner. That’s what we did. We can speak to the blessings firsthand. We’ve seen God do amazing things in our lives that we believe are directly connected to putting him first in all areas of our life—including our sex life.
We get that some people’s strong desire for sex and their differing perspectives on premarital sex might make them unlikely to wait until marriage. That said, we believe that to gain all the blessings connected to The Wait, celibacy should continue until you make that vow of lasting commitment. Not to say that God won’t bless you if you choose to live differently, but since making our choice we’ve reaped the benefits of blessings that are nothing like we’ve ever received in our lives before.
Because we’ve written this book from that perspective, that’s our focus. Plus, qualifying everything—different rules for people waiting for different lengths of time—would be confusing for you and us. So we’re just going to talk about The Wait as we experienced it: no sex until marriage. We’re not denying the real world; we’re just reflecting on the way that the two of us navigated the real world and our own sexual desires to find real, deep, authentic love.
Despite all our reassurances and your best intentions, giving up sex can seem impossible. But believe us, it’s worth it. The things that happened in the months after our marriage were not things we could have planned or even thought we deserved. We prayed for things and envisioned exactly how they would happen, but it wasn’t until we were together—with the richness and respect that we had built for each other—that miracles began to come to pass. God’s grace has been overwhelming and life changing. Putting God first and making him the foundation of our union has been not only the best personal decision we’ve ever made but the best decision for our careers and lives.
DEVON: When you’re disciplined, obedient, and faithful, God will bring you the full manifestation of what He has in mind for you. He’ll bring you His plan A, the best destiny you could imagine. That’s what I wanted for my life when I became celibate. I knew that if I had remained undisciplined and continued to make bad choices, God would still be a benevolent God. He would bring me something from plan B, plan C, or plan D, but that wasn’t enough for me. I said, “Lord, I want it all.” And when you look at my life since then in all its facets, from family to career, God has delivered above and beyond anything I could have hoped or asked for.
MEAGAN: Everything in my life has changed dramatically since I stopped picking and choosing which parts of the Bible I would follow. I stopped saying, “I’m going to do this by the book, but I’m going to do that over there the way I want to do it.” When I stopped that and I focused on the hardest thing, which is sex, I literally watched everything in my life and career change.
Waiting for sex isn’t easy, but no important thing is ever easy. It’s a sacrifice, but a worthwhile one. We took some teasing about things like our clear skin and how wild our honeymoon must have been, but it was worth it. Finally enjoying sex with each other after our marriage was incredible, but it was also the consummation of something holy.
Influential philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas said, “A person is said to be patient . . . because he acts in a praiseworthy manner by enduring things which hurt him here and now and is not unduly saddened by them.” We consider patience a virtue and impatience a vice, but why?
In part, it’s because a patient disposition tends to give us a healthier perspective on the ups and downs of daily living. Because we’re not expecting everything to come our way overnight, we keep the big picture in mind. We’re less likely to become angry or depressed at life’s trivial setbacks. The impatient person can’t understand why everything isn’t working out as planned and is more likely to react to a minor misfortune by becoming frustrated, giving up, or doing something foolish.
Before we move on, we need to draw a clear distinction between celibacy and abstinence. Most people think they’re the same thing. They’re not. Abstinence is simply refraining from sex; it’s the absence of something with no greater meaning behind it. To us, Celibacy is refraining from sex because of a vow or faith; it’s abstinence with a purpose. You might abstain from sex involuntarily, because you’re not in a relationship. Celibacy is never involuntary. It’s always the result of a conscious, deliberate choice. That’s an important distinction.
In The Wait we’re going to talk about celibacy because to us, celibacy is something you go into with your eyes open, fully expecting to gain something from the experience. It’s about saying, “I’m becoming.” On the other hand, in our culture abstinence is something grudging, something forced upon young people, for example, by well-meaning parents or well-meaning ministries. It’s about saying, “You will not.” But there’s not always purpose or learning associated with it. That can be dangerous.
Consider the news story in the spring of 2015 about a small high school in Texas with an abstinence-only sex education program that experienced a widespread outbreak of chlamydia, a sexually transmitted infection. That’s one tiny piece of proof that just saying no to sex or pretending the sex drive doesn’t exist isn’t an adequate defense against pregnancy, disease, or worse.
When we talk about celibacy, the last thing we’re doing is telling you to ignore sex. Just the opposite. We’re suggesting that you acknowledge its power and your own desire. That way, if you choose to go without sex, you’ll do so with your eyes open, understanding the realities and risks of having sex and not having it. Celibacy and The Wait complement each other.
Despite all those positives, type-A personalities often see The Wait as disempowering or fatalistic. So many times we hear self-help tropes like, “Go for what you want in life” and “Successful people make things happen; unsuccessful people watch things happen.” That sort of one-size-fits-all wisdom sounds enticing until you realize that it could possibly leave God completely out of the picture.
For some scriptural perspective, look at Isaiah 40:30–31 (NASB), which reads,
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
Yes, even those vigorous young men and women, so impatient and confident in their ability to choose the right person or right path, will stumble and wear out without God’s guidance to give them strength.
Running through love’s maze, chasing one bad relationship after another—it all discourages not just the body but also the spirit. The word discourage says it: a loss of courage. After a while, you don’t have the fortitude to face another first date or relationship. It’s exhausting.
On the other hand, showing some restraint and letting God reveal your next step is like plugging into an emotional and spiritual power plant. As the verse says, you can run and not get tired. You’re not just free of the maze but free of the unspoken mandate that you must find your life’s partner and life’s purpose right now. You’re on nobody’s schedule but your own, and you have God to help you figure out what to do next.
In fact, the same engine that drives the best stories also gives The Wait its power. We’re professionals with years working in the entertainment business, and we know that the key to any good movie is tension. It doesn’t matter if you’re waiting for two characters to share their first kiss or holding your breath while the heroine tries to escape from the serial killer. No matter the genre of film, what moves the story is the tension between what the main character wants and the obstacles he or she must overcome to get it.
The Wait works the same way. It takes the tension that exists between instant and delayed gratification and turns it into energy. In the Bible, giving in to the temptations of instant gratification inevitably leads to ruin. (See Eden, Garden of.) Delayed gratification, on the other hand, leads to fidelity and reward. (See the story of Joseph.) Waiting for what you want floods your life with potential energy.
One memorable piece of evidence for the benefits of delayed gratification comes from what’s become known as the famous Stanford marshmallow experiment. In the 1960s, a Stanford University professor named Walter Mischel started experimenting with hundreds of children around four and five years old to see how long they could delay their own gratification.
In the experiment, a researcher brought each child into a private room one at a time and sat down across a table from him or her. On the table he placed a marshmallow. Then he told each child that he would leave the room for fifteen minutes. If the child did not eat the marshmallow during the time that the researcher was gone, he or she would get a second marshmallow when the researcher came back. If the child ate the marshmallow, he or she wouldn’t get any more.
As you might expect, most of the kids ate their marshmallows. A few didn’t. But the interesting part of the study came as the researchers followed the kids over the next forty years as they grew into adults. What the study showed was that the kids who were able to delay gratification were more successful in almost every area of life: reduced rates of obesity, better social skills, higher SAT scores, you name it. They were simply better at life than the kids who gave in to instant gratification.
If you’ve never been disciplined enough to deny yourself short-term pleasure in favor of the big picture, The Wait is your chance to develop this skill as an adult, something most people cannot do. Doing so can increase your chances of being successful in the parts of your life that matter most, from your career to your relationships.
Another big plus to delaying gratification and reining in your dating life is that the less available you are, the more fascinating you become. We live in a culture where most people hurl themselves blindly into the path of every possible relationship. In that world, who’s most interesting and desirable? The person who has the confidence not to date every warm body that comes along but instead is selective. Just as tension powers the action in the movies, it will do the same for you.
You may be dating and deciding to wait for the first time. You may be single and already waiting (on purpose or because you have no other choice) but becoming discouraged. Either way, have hope. The Wait will work for you. Ultimately, if your desire to please God is greater than your desire to please yourself (and even the person you may be dating), then God will bring you boundless blessings. Tether your will to wait to your desire to please God, and He will bless you and honor your commitment in ways that will surprise you and improve your life.
THE WAIT AND . . . CAREER
Your career is another area where you might be chomping at the bit to get going, get climbing that ladder, and get the corner office, but you have only so much control. There are politics, the realities of advancement within an organization, and issues of training and education to deal with. Plus, it’s hard to know what you should really do with your life.
Waiting can be a great career strategy, because believe it or not God honors your sacrifice. And let’s face it, the decision to deny yourself and not have sex is a sacrifice. The two of us have witnessed firsthand how God has blessed our careers because we chose to honor him in our relationship. As you practice The Wait, you can see a great acceleration and advancement in your purpose and career.
Table of Contents
Why We Waited xvi
Yes, The Wait Is (Sort of) About Sex xix
Answer to the Important Questions xxiii
Chapter 1 No Sex? You Can't Be Serious 1
Sex, Waiting, and Relationships 3
The Problem with Sex 5
Why We Chose to Be Celibate 7
What The Wait Isn't 10
Things to Know About Being Celibate 13
Signs from God 19
Does It Really Have to Be Until Marriage? 20
The Blessings of Waiting 21
Wise Waiting 24
Celibacy Versus Abstinence 24
The Energy to Change Everything 26
Delayed Gratification and Marshmallows 28
Being Selective Makes You More Desirable 29
The Wait and … Career 31
Chapter 2 Getting What You Really Want (Hint: It Isn't Sex) 33
Becoming the Best Version of Yourself 34
Before We Dated 39
Wise Waiting 46
How The Wait improved Our Lives 46
The Wait and … Finances 50
Grabbing Hold of the Life You Want 51
The Wait Preprograms Your Pleasure Software 52
Lip Service 56
It Puts You Back in Control 57
It Pulls the Right People to You 60
Other Key Reasons Why Waiting Is Worth It 62
Know Your Triggers 67
Chapter 3 First Stops Down the Path to Authentic Love 69
Make the Decision 70
Seek Wise Counsel 72
Let God Be Your Matchmaker 72
What If the Other Person Is Waiting First? 75
Give Up the Illusion of "The One" 75
The Wait and … Weight 79
The Stages of Celibacy 80
Know That It Gets Easier 84
Wise Waiting 85
Chapter 4 Lead Me Not into Temptation, I Can Find It Myself 87
Remembering Why You Started 90
The Lust Prayer 91
The Wait and … Creativity 92
What Temptation Looks Like 93
Taking Care of Business 96
Temptation Avoidance Tips 96
Mind Your Triggers 97
Prepare for Every Contingency 100
Eyes on the Prize 102
Thinking about Sex Less 104
Chapter 5 What Keeps Women from Waiting? 107
Happily Ever After? Not So Much 110
Women's Disciplines 113
For Women, Celibacy Is Control 114
"If I Don't Sleep with Him, I'll Lose Him" 117
How Not to Wait 119
"There Are Only a Few Good Men Out There" 120
Woman Versus Woman 122
Who Is Your Husband? 124
Fear Is a Failure of Faith 128
The Wait and … Friendships 131
Waiting Gives You Back Your Power 131
How Waiting Gets You What You Want 133
Chapter 6 What Keeps Men from Waiting? 137
The List 140
The Cost 142
Men's Disciplines 144
Walking, Talking Sex Drives 145
What Are You Doing with Your Not-Tied-Downness? 148
"No" Before Bros 150
Who Is Your Wife? 151
The Wait and … Business 155
Faith and The Waiting Man 155
Attention Is the Currency of True Success 158
Take Inventory 159
Wise Waiting 162
Chapter 7 Can I Date While I Wait? 163
What Do You Deserve? 164
It's Confusing 166
DUI: Dating Under Infatuation 169
Type or Typo? 172
The Jury Is Out 172
You Know Not Because You Ask Not 175
Beware of Your List 178
Dipping Your Toe into the Dating Pool 184
Steady at Your Center 186
Going Deeper 187
Telling Your Date About The Wait 189
Wise Waiting 191
Chapter 8 When Should I Commit? 193
Live as You Before You Live as We 199
If You're Ready, Don't Be Afraid to Move Ahead 200
Breaking the Stalemate 204
Reasons Not to Commit 205
Learning … Every Date, Every Day 208
Should You Live Like You're Married When You're Not? 211
The Friends-and-Family Plan 214
Passion Chemistry 217
Popping the Question 218
Marriage and Beyond 221
The Blessings of Marriage 223
Chapter 9 Don't Give Up 225
The Wait Always Works 227
Beware of Pitfalls 228
Plenty to Do in the Meantime 230
Trust What You Can't See 231
Stay on God's Timetable 232
The Wait and … Self-Esteem 235
Reflect and Review 236
Final Thoughts 242